Panasonic slumps as Tesla branches out with new battery deal



Japanese battery maker Panasonic’s appears to be feeling the direct impacts of its venture with California-based electric automobile maker Tesla. Just Panasonic chose to reduce its profit outlook for 2019 over China’s slowing market because of the trade war against the United States. Amidst these headwinds, Panasonic’s venture with Tesla was a silver lining for the Japanese company, compelling its battery company the very first time in three quarters.

During a briefing about its adjusted forecasts, Panasonic Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda pointed out that there were advancements with gain and sales on its battery industry over the previous months. Umeda notes that much of these developments are the result of its venture with Tesla, especially considering the upgrades that Panasonic rolled out into its battery mobile lines at Gigafactory 1. In general, Tesla’s company gave Panasonic an operating benefit of 16.5 billion yen (around $150M).

“Sales and gain at the Tesla company have improved,” Umeda said, later adding that additional lines at Gigafactory 1 could be installed at the end of March. The Panasonic CFO noted that with the upcoming improvements, Gigafactory 1’s complete capacity could reach 35 GWh.

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Even though its battery company seems to be flourishing under its venture with Tesla, Panasonic’s shares were walloped on Tuesday nonetheless. The Japanese firm’s 6.5% decline on Tuesday whined amidst information that Tesla is acquiring ultracapacitor company Maxwell Technologies within an all-stock deal valued at about $218 million. Considering the opportunities presented from the Maxwell purchase are linked to Tesla’so battery technology, one could almost assume that Panasonic is almost dropping its exclusivity as the electric automobile manufacturer ’s battery provider.

Having said that, business analysts from Japan have noticed that Panasonic’s current drop on the market is largely due to the firm ’s gloomy quarterly earnings and annual profit quote, which comprised a 9% cut in its operating profit standpoint and a decline of 19% for Q4 2018. It was a point highlighted by Masahiko Ishino, an analyst by the Tokai Tokyo Research Center, that noticed in a statement to Reuters that Panasonic’s dip from the marketplace was mostly due to the firm ’s prognosis. 

“The latest earnings have shown how tough the situation would be for Panasonic,” he said.  

In ways, both Tesla and Panasonic seem to be branching out into their battery life endeavors. Aside from acquiring Maxwell and its ultracapacitor technology, Tesla is also reportedly looking to associate with neighborhood battery providers in China for vehicles that are going to be made at Gigafactory 3. On the flip side, Panasonic seems to do the identical thing, lately teaming up with Toyota Motor Corp to collaborate in the development and creation of rectangular-shaped prismatic batteries. Panasonic is expecting to supply prismatic batteries to carmakers such as Honda, utilizing the technology it would be developing with Toyota.

While these updates from Tesla and Panasonic might give the impression that the two companies are beginning to diverge from each other, such an idea could be inaccurate. The batteries for Tesla’s electric automobiles and energy storage devices constructed in the US, after all, are still exclusively provided by Panasonic. That means that the Japanese firm will be greatly invested in Tesla, since the automobile maker proceeds the Model 3 ramp and as it raises the creation of its energy products such as the Powerwall 2. Considering Tesla’s product roadmap, there’s a likelihood that the automobile manufacturer ’s venture with Panasonic would last for a long time to come. 

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